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Houses in Multiple Occupation

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a house or flat occupied by people who do not form a single household and who share basic amenities.

The law (Housing Act 2004 ) says that an HMO is a building or part of a building (e.g. a flat) which is privately let to three or more people from more than one household and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. In order to be an HMO the property must be the tenants' main home or principal address.

HMO landlords must comply with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006, which stipulate the roles and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants, for example:

  • making sure the landlord's contact details are made available to the occupiers. 
  • ensuring that the HMO is safe for the occupiers, especially in relation to the fire precautions, gas and electrical safety.
  • keeping the property in good repair, including fixtures, furnishings and appliances.

Changes to mandatory HMO licensing

The licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) will change on 1 October 2018, when the extension of mandatory licensing is introduced.

Currently in Uttlesford a property only needs an HMO licence if it comprises three or more storeys and houses five or more people from two or more households.

A change in the law means that an HMO must be licensed if it is:

  • a building let to five or more people from two or more separate households who share amenities,


  • a purpose-built flat in a block of up to two flats and occupied as an HMO by five or more people.

Landlords and managers of properties affected by the change must apply for a licence from us before 1 October 2018. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.

We'll provide more information here soon, including the date from which you can apply in relation to the new law.

The change in the law is intended to improve the standards and safety of rented accommodation in the UK. It will increase the range of measures available to local housing authorities with which to tackle rogue landlords.

   ► pdf icon Houses of Multiple Occupancy Licensing fees and charges [69kb] (Environmental Health 'Other Charges')



Take part in our survey

One of the criteria for licensing an HMO is that it is "reasonably suitable" for the number of occupiers. Uttlesford District Council wants to ensure that clear amenity standards for HMOs, shared with other Essex local authorities, are in place so that landlords and residents know what is expected. 

We invite you to have your say in the development of these standards as we seek to ensure that HMOs are safe, suitable and well-managed without adding unnecessary costs for landlords or residents.

Click on the link below to take part:

Space and amenities in Houses in Multiple Occupation - Have your say! ►


Contact the Environmental Health department